GRANGER at Halloween for 10/26/16: THE TEAR IN THE WRAPPER

Truth in advertising“, it read.

Image result for coffee and Autumn

Granger was fed up with the glut of political flyers in his mailbox and inboxes.  Tossing on his desk the garishly colored hit piece in yoga pants by a former state senator, he swung around and gazed unfocused out the window at a grayish, cotton-streaked sky with bruise-blue accents.  Chuffing through his nose, he thought, “Even the sky’s puzzled by it all.”

Bemused, he reached for his “Coffee Made Me Do It” mug.  Just before he got it to his mouth, he noticed the “fun-size” Butterfinger laying on his desk; it had been hidden by the big black mug.  Glancing over at the glass bowl full of assorted Halloween-sized candy, he saw many other bars identical to the one huddled behind his coffee.  You won’t get away from me-e-e . . .

Image result for fun-size Butterfinger

Amused at the desire-borne moisture in his mouth, he glommed onto the familiar yellow-orange-gold wrapper.  Granger actually licked his lips as he tore the wrapper lengthwise.

Opening the wrapper, he grimaced in disgust.  Really?  Instead of the neat, compact one-by-two-inch chocolate-covered nougat he expected to find, a sharded mess of odd-shaped pieces had fallen onto his black crew-neck tee and khaki pants.

Irritated, he started to grouse about something more to clean up when he suddenly got quiet.

I know people like that, he reasoned.  Brightly packaged, looking like others in The Bowl, like they’ve got it all together–until the wrapper comes off.  Unwrapped, they’re a ragged, jagged collection of misshapen pieces just waiting to fall all over the place.

Yeah, I know people like that.  I’ve been like that.

Image result for people wearing I'm fine masks

As these thoughts jostled each other in his mind, he glanced again at the phrase off the discarded voting flyer:  “Truth In Advertising”.

Image result for people wearing I'm fine masks gif

Granger’s eyes blurred and his voice thickened as he spoke aloud, a habit of those who spend most of their time alone.  “Oh, yeah.  Many’s the time that, had my wrapper torn, all my hidden insecurities, my personal misgivings, self-doubt, all those questions about myself would be laying all over in a huge, untidy mess just like–here he made a rueful face as he surveyed the slightly-sticky, sweet mess he’d dumped on his clothes– “my ill-fated little candy bar buddy, may it rest in pieces.”

Image result for Community Golden Caramel coffee

Later, wearing a comfortable black-and-red shirt with the sleeves rolled half up and a soft pair of old jeans, he stood with mug in left hand and coffee carafe in right, thinking about the recent experience.  Shaking his head as if to wake up, Granger poured a fresh, fragrant cup of Community Golden Caramel, returned to his desk chair and sat pondering.

Is it wrong to present a public appearance that’s attractive, appropriate to one’s task?  Does that not reflect good self-image and -respect?

Is it deceptive to present an outward persona that’s positive and uplifting, even when one’s interior landscape more resembles a barren wasteland?  As a Christ-follower, isn’t being winsome and attractive kind of necessary?

Sipping thoughtfully at the semi-sweet, smooth coffee, he answered his own question.

Deception is willful.  Wearing a mask is intended to hide, to frustrate and conceal.  If those are the reasons for the wrapper, then the advertising is dishonest and disingenuous.

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

If one’s desire is to be a consistent positive, encouraging and Christlike witness to one’s own world, then God can be trusted to know how to tenderly deal with the internal brokenness.  To fit the nonfitting.  To create beauty and symmetry just as perfectly as He did at The Original Event.

Rising to refill his mug, Granger thoughtfully nabbed another of the sweet, chocolaty morsels from the Halloween bowl.  Grinning as he softly checked that this one was whole, he admitted to himself, I don’t have this here “for the kids” since none ever come up here.  I have this here for me.  And I’m lovin’ it!

Butterfinger?

© D. Dean Boone, October 2016

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Q(uiet) T(ime) M(using)s for 11/16/17: EVER STOPPED TO THINK . . . ?

  • THAT NO MATTER WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE, GOD KNOWS THE REAL YOU?
  • THAT REGARDLESS OF WHAT EARTHLY POWER YOU’VE GRABBED FOR YOURSELF, AT LIFE’S END YOU’RE GOING TO STAND ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE HIM?
  • THAT ALL YOUR RUTHLESS SCHEMES TO CRIPPLE OR DESTROY YOUR POLITICAL OPPONENTS WILL BE LAID BARE BY GOD?
  • THAT YOU LOOK PATHETIC AND FOOLISH IN YOUR SKIVVIES?

Image result for coffee and politics

By now, you’ve figured out I’m addressing men and women here who all think way more highly of themselves than they should.  They are mortals, flesh-and-blood humans just like you and I, who by whatever means have managed to get themselves elected to public service – a term they all seem to have instantly jettisoned.

“Well, I wish you’d stick to good, wholesome, encouraging stuff that has solid spiritual applications.”

I am.

We could all learn a lot by re-reading Proverbs.  I just finished absorbing a little more of chapter 16, and it’s hard to pick one thing out from among all the others.  I won’t bore you; grab your Word and read it yourself.

Then you tell me if there’s not plenty in that single chapter to apply to all the political powermongers of every party, trying right now at the cost of our very nation’s health, to destroy one another’s careers and reputations just to get their own way, or cover up at all costs the sordid trail of their habitual corruption.

Image result for Animated Ventriloquist GifsIt is unfortunate they love having a following of young Americans with little or no sense of – nor appreciation for – history, whose opinions the wizened Caiaphas types of D.C. can easily manipulate.  They know those vapid youth will flood the airwaves and ‘Net with their handlers’ talking-point programming.

In this morning’s mail, I read this:  “When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see. ”  Solomon had been around.  When God asked him what he most sought, the king asked for wisdom.

He got it.

It seems to me our puff-headed, blowhardy senators and representatives – and their staffers of this or that who think they’re hidden – would be better served to disregard their verb-parsing law degrees, and decide to use the Book of Proverbs as their guide to conducting the daily business of our nation.

Yes, I know.  I’m inducing in you the desire to go and reacquaint yourself with Proverbs.


Make your motions and cast your votes, but GOD has the final say.


It means more if you read it for yourself.  Begin with today’s date, the 16th.  Then sit back, think about what you just read in chapter 16, and make some notes.  List how many things it mentions could be applied to what’s going on in our nation’s Congress, and in states where crucial elections are up for grabs.

Ask yourself how different would be everyone’s attitudes, speech, and activities were we following the counsel found in this amazing Book of Wisdom.  And that’s just one book.  The Bible’s full of solid advice on how to treat and serve one another.

As verse 33 says it, “Make your motions and cast your votes, but GOD has the final say.”  If we believed that, most of what is taking up every news cycle imaginable wouldn’t be happening.

Think about it.

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

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300-Word Stroll for 11/13/17: 3 WAYS YESTERDAYERS AIN’T RATIN’

You can moon over how amazing you were until you’re wasting what God wants to do through you today.

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You know the type.  Always reminding you of how studly or stunning they were, and how much better they could do whatever you’re doing.  Gets tiresome, doesn’t it?

“I’m glad you had those experiences, and once did all those wonderful things.  What are you doing today?”

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Your instincts are correct.  There’s a reason God doesn’t have them doing it.  They’re insecure, needing to be seen and heard.  They may be flamboyant in dress, speech and deportment, so that on the surface they seem to have it all together.  They intimidate you into feeling small and dull in comparison.  Don’t let them get by with that.  No one can make you feel insignificant without your permission.

Quit listening, and stop giving it.

  1. YESTERDAY DOESN’T DESERVE YOUR CONTINUING ATTENTION.  Learn its lessons and move on.
  2. THOSE LIVING IN YESTERDAY DRAG YOU DOWN & HOLD YOU BACK.  They don’t have that right.
  3. GOD’S LAID HIS ‘TODAY’ BEFORE YOU FOR A REASON.  Be looking here and ahead.

The Bible’s full of examples of people God chose to use that everyone else either ignored or ridiculed.

Image result for unlikely heroes Sure.  It rankles to watch The Loud and The Lovely keep being feted with praise and preference, when many others have more spiritual maturity, depth and wonderful talent to offer.  All they need is someone to encourage and develop them.

Popularity based on favors or family is fickle; eventually, it will collapse like pond ice during Spring thaw.

Be passionately patient and faithful in following God’s lead through your Today.  You’ve no idea what He has in store.

Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 11/10/17: “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.”

It’s hard to know what to do with a compliment you rarely hear.

Image result for Coffee and MilitaryOne of the reasons I decided to separate from the Air Force after my first hitch was the spitting derision all of us Vietnam-era veterans received upon coming back to the world.  It made no difference where we served or what uniform we wore.  We were routinely trashed by Americans who were clueless what it meant to sign up, straighten up, listen up, get squared away and ship off.

The Vietnam years were an ugly part of an uglier Cold War.  When we returned from wherever we were stationed, we needed America to care because we knew if we’d been correctly led in Vietnam, we’d have won.  We knew the level of our training and had faith in the troops we served with.  It stung to have to leave Saigon the way we did.

We needed America to care.

They didn’t.  Americans didn’t.  Tired of the stinking war and weary of a meddling, arrogant, condescending civilian President who’d never gotten within sneering distance of a military uniform, they transferred their disgust and hatred to us.  To this day, I can be wearing a veteran’s cap in a restaurant and be glared at or, worse perhaps, looked at with wonder–all while people will walk over to younger military men and women and thank them.

The Cold War years weren’t fun and games, either.  Yet the Vietnam portion of that time was especially hard on all concerned.

Every war before or since has been just as ugly.  No one likes the thought of having to kill other humans merely because they want to kill us and take or destroy what’s ours.  Whether blowing them up in a triple-canopied jungle path, a dirty tree-forsaken wasteland, in surface engagements or unseen desperate moments undersea, or in the frozen northern skies, death is just as real.

And during war, it’s not just bodies that die.  Hopes.  Dreams.  Ideals.  Innocence.  Kindness.  Decency.  Love.  Values.  These and so much more are the wages of sin whose paymaster is War.

When we returned to The World, we of the Vietnam era never got the accolades, yellow ribbons, bands and public applause from grateful countrymen.  We received accusing glares and vile, profane insults.  After all, we lost.

Right?Image result for vietnam era veterans

Except we didn’t.  No matter what branch we represented, nor what our specialty was, on the ground, afloat or in the air in any operation where we were allowed to fight that battle with unrestricted use of our training and experience, we won.  From the Revolution through to these seeming interminable jihadist hotspots around the world, where United States troops are unleashed to fight and operate as we’ve been trained, we’ve prevailed.  We win.

Some of us are blessed enough to come home again.  Some show visible battle scars.  Yet all–every one of us–have the internal scars that derive from leaving all that’s familiar and loved, heading into an unknown future spent someplace we’ve only heard about.  We all–every one of us–get that ‘thousand-yard stare’ the minute someone asks about our time out of country or overseas.  Even if served in the same place, each tour was – is – different.

We’ll tell you the funny and memorable stuff.  Surface things.  The rest?  We’ll likely report to our Final Port of Call still holding most of that inside.  And you might’ve noticed on every Veterans Day we seem to trot out the same old pictures to put on Facebook.

That’s because my generation served before cell phones had been invented.  If we had cameras they were clunky Instamatics, and just something else to have to pack around.  Then, too, we were focused more on doing our duty than posing for pictures.

All of you in the civilian world have been taking things like I just wrote to heart.  You’re welcoming the young military pros coming back with your sincere honor and appreciation.   Thank you for that.

While you’re renewing the nation’s recognition of the valor of America’s military vets, take some time to remember those of us with gray hair who were serving around the world before these you honor were born.

Image result for vietnam era veterans

Senior adults now, we stand tall and proud today, mystified by observing a spoiled generation wipe their noses and other less desirable body parts on the flag we so deeply admire.

We wore our nation’s uniforms before it was popular.  We knew when we enlisted what we likely would face.  Though things and people disappointed, even disgusted us–we’d stand for America again if needed.

We’re noticing, America, that you’ve begun to recognize some of us as well, stopping by our restaurant tables or pausing in Costco to say, “Thank you for your service.”

Believe us when we overcome our shock to respond:  “Thank you for your support.”

Just bear with us when you see a tear in our eyes when we say it.

It means more than you know.

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 11/7/17: 2 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THE WHATCHUWANTS.

Humility walks in the door when what you think you know chases down how much you don’t, and forces you to listen.

Image result for coffee and humilityThe boy’s name could’ve been Dawdle; that’s what he loved to do.  Rocks, sticks, stray dogs, a Frisbee somebody left in the street.  Anything could grab his interest and make him late coming home from school.  Again.

Tiring of the incessant battle, his mom and dad warned him one morning that he must be home on time that afternoon.  You guessed it.  He was 27 minutes later than the day before.  His mom made no scene:  “Get washed up for dinner.  And for long sleeves this time!”

Thinking he’d worn his parents down, he plopped down in his seat at the table.  He started to say something, but was shocked when he looked at his plate.  Seriously?  A slice of bread?  And a glass of water?  The boy slid his eyes over at his parents’ loaded plates, then quickly glanced up at his dad.  His father remained quiet, just looking back at his headstrong son.

The little boy dropped his head and silent tears began to flow.

Image result for coffee and humilityHis dad watched as remorse and sorrow at being caught by his own disobedience flitted across the boy’s face.  Then he silently, calmly picked up his own plate loaded with savory lasagna and crisp salad and fragrant garlic bread, exchanged it for the one in front of the child, and began eating the bread and drinking the water.

That man remembers to this day how terrific the taste of that sweet tea was, and how the sauce in the lasagna was just right.  He also is haunted by seeing his hard-working, tired, hungry dad quietly eating a slice of bread and sipping water.

He grimly smiles as he says, “And you know what?  I learned two huge lessons that evening.”

  • When you’re on a schedule, keep it or let somebody know why you can’t.

  • God uses our dads to teach us about Himself.

Being sensitive to someone else’s schedule – respecting their time – is common courtesy.  When those close to you are made irritable, nervous and resentful by your always being a few minutes late, get started sooner.  It may not seem ‘late’ to your way of thinking.  Yet it puts their teeth on edge.  There’s nothing fashionable about being chronically late.  It’s RUDE.

Dads?  Your role has always been to give your sons and daughters a picture of what God looks like by watching you.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, don’t want that responsibility or pressure.  God will hold you accountable for what you could’ve done to enhance your kids’ spiritual formation.  It is that important.

Yes, their mom is part of God’s plan to help them grow up to learn ADULTING.  That never has and never will excuse you from your leadership role in your family.

Image result for coffee and humilityWhen’s the last time you got creative in helping your son or daughter ‘get’ the lessons you’re trying to teach them?

When you think about it, missing some of your wife’s terrific lasagna for a meal is a small price to pay for observing how your dawdling, mind-of-their-own kids have become solid men and marvelous women.

Do and be what it takes for them to better see God when they look at you.

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

 

 

 

 

Categories: Common Sense, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

QTMs for 11/6/17: BUT YOU AIN’T GOT JACK

You’ve heard it:  “If I could buy you for what you’re worth, then sell you for what you think you’re worth . . .”
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Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:9, “I am the least…  I am not worthy…”  It does NOT mean you’re worthless in the eyes of others, but being honest in seeing yourself through God’s eyes.  It’s knowing that who, what, and how He’s building you up to be now in your journey is because of His grace, not your popularity or talent.  It’s not about you at all.  It’s all about God working His grace through you.
 
Yesterday in class, we discussed the fallacy of an “US vs. THOSE PEOPLE” mentality, even while claiming we’re representing Jesus to our world.  You know.  Always sitting with the same ones.  Always picking from the same insular group for just about anything.  After all, unless Jack’s in that class, or seated at that table, or a member of that group, it has no merit.  See, Jack’s popular and fun.  Jack is in EVERYTHING.  I mean, thanks for the offer, but if you ain’t got JACK . . .
With respect, we’re not here to learn about and worship Jack.  According to Paul, Jack’s true value is only in how he uses his gifts and personality – and character – to point other men to Jesus.
We all do it, if we’re not careful.
“I do not!”  Hey.  Social media tell the story.  What else is everyone supposed to think when they keep seeing the exact same faces proudly displayed at any social gathering you host?  And haven’t you occasionally looked at a Facebook picture and thought, “Sure wish they’d invite me sometime.”?
And what if they did?  Would you then become a cliquey snob, secretly gloating over all the little people not allowed to know the clubhouse secret code?

It’s not about you at all.  It’s all about God working His grace through you.


It’s natural to have some friends closer than others, some with whom we always have the most fun. 
Image result for coffee and social cliques
But if that’s the sum of your social interaction–hanging with the same people, only doing things with the same select group–according to Jesus’s examples, you’ve not yet begun to represent Him in His world.  Calling that ‘evangelism’ and ‘discipleship’ is kidding yourself.  And it’s shortchanging those you could be impacting by your witness.
Ever heard somebody say in shock, “Why, I had no idea __________ was so much fun!” or “Wow, I didn’t know they were that good.”  What chance did you give them?  Most people do not wade into the middle of things, demanding to be included.
 
One in four personalities is always up for a good party.  The other three either have no time for foolish goofing off by people who don’t have time for them; are more bothered by the cost of the party than that they weren’t invited; or are talented and would love to be included once in awhile, but aren’t the kind to push themselves into a setting where they’re not wanted.
 
It hurts to be routinely excluded unless nobody else is around willing to step up.  Good, qualified, able people have quietly left churches because, “We couldn’t get in.  Everyone had their clique, their family gatherings.  They come in talking and laughing with the same people, they leave the same way.  It’s like we were somehow lower on the register or something.  Nobody’d let us in, and we got tired of feeling like second- or third-tier Christians.” 

The Path of Least Discomfort is not an effective outreach program.


How many times should they keep trying before getting discouraged and quitting?  More to the point, when that happens, how long does it take for the clique or family or social group to realize they’ve gone?

 

Image result for Going Against the Flow

Either way, The Path of Least Discomfort is not an effective outreach program.  It’s not enough to just not be conformed to the world.  Sometimes it’s necessary to resist being conformed to The Church. 
Paul goes on in 1 Cor. 15-16 to talk about Christ’s return.  When He raptures His Church, it won’t be by parties, church organizations, family affiliation, social clubs or the most popular Sunday School classes. 
 
We’ll each rise to meet Him because we’ve individually served Him in this life. 
Or, as Paul puts it, “Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (15:58).
Exactly.  God sees results in a different way than we all do.
© D. Dean Boone, November 2017
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A Granger Encounter, 11/4/17: THE RITES OF WRITING RIGHT

“Your regular?”  Rizzo’s voice always seemed to smile.  She topped off his coffee as she waited to take his order.  Granger hesitated, then told her what he wanted to eat.

 

Image result for coffee and basted eggs

“Seriously?  You want—”  Nodding, he repeated his order.  Shaking her head, she repeated it back: “Six eggs, basted over hard, shredded cheddar on them after cooked.  Wheat toast with jay-lih.”  She grinned as she jotted on her order pad; she’d been trying for a year or more to learn the Southern way to pronounce ‘jelly’.

“Sure you don’t want some home fries and hollandaise with that?”  He absentmindedly shook his head, attention already refocused on Middle Space.  He seemed to be observing the others in Jimmie’s Diner more in his mind than with his eyes.

He was musing like that, the usual writing pad laying on the table before him, when Sparks came in the door.  Standing two inches over six feet, the seasoned deputy sheriff paused just inside the door, thumbs hooked casually over his duty belt, and habitually scanned the room before walking on in.  Granger, amused, caught the reactions of several other early-morning diners, even while his mind was fussing around the edges of the ideas he’d been sorting through.

“You saw it, too, huh?”  He removed his service cap and laid it on the booth seat next to him.  Granger’s eyes refocused as he grinned.  “Guilty consciences or knee-jerk reactions, I guess.  I’ve already ordered, so go ahead.”

Sparks sat gratefully sipping the hot coffee Rizzo’d poured.  They exchanged greetings and she showed him the latest pictures of her impossibly-cute 1-year-old.  Making the usual remarks about the little girl’s beauty, the deputy glanced over at his friend and mentor as Rizzo hustled off to take care of other patrons.

Granger had that spacey look in his eyes again.

“You amaze me, man.  Don’t you ever run dry of ideas to write about?  I mean, it’s like Life has to take second or third chair.”  His radio went “kisht” and he reached back to turn the gain down a little.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.cuppaonline.com 

Granger took his question to be rhetorical, but answered anyway.  “There’s always something fresh or different because life keeps happening.  Do you ever run out of calls?”  Sparks bobbed his head off to the left, silently acknowledging the truth.

“How’d you get started at this?  You write, and speak, and it seems that, even on Facebook, you use it to chide or counsel or encourage others.  And you sit and listen to people by the hour!  What triggered that?”  He watched as Granger went absolutely still as he thought about how to respond, not even acknowledging with his usual gratitude as Rizzo refilled his coffee cup.

Used to sizing up strangers, the cop in him watched Granger’s eyes, the play of emotion and memories as they flickered across his face.  Wow, he’s taking this seriously.  He’s got a great sense of humor and loves to laugh and have fun.  But this is like watching a computer do a search.

“I think I’ve always wanted to matter, to be relevant in others’ lives.  I don’t believe I did that very well prior to my health issues.  Like everyone else, I was pretty focused on my own life, interests, family, etc.  When God got me through that first few years, I was literally a different man.”

“Say more.”  Startled, Granger raised his eyebrows at Sparks.  “You been listenin’ to me?”  Just as quickly, he zeroed back in on his thoughts as he sipped the good coffee Jimmie’s was known for.

“It isn’t that I didn’t care before.  I did.  If anything, I care too much, taking others’ burdens on as my own.  So it wasn’t a lack of compassion or sympathy.  But coming so close to dying a few times was like God grabbing me by the ears, staring in my eyes and saying, “Do I have your attention?”

Chuckling as he tried to slurp a mouthful of coffee, Sparks choked.  He snickered wryly at himself, reaching for a napkin.  “I take it He did?”

Image result for carman - e. f. hutton

“Oh, yeah!  Like the old Carman song says, “When GOD speaks, everybody listens, even E. F. Hutton!”

Noticing Sparks picking up his cap, ear cocked down toward his epaulet-mounted radio, Granger nodded.  “It’s good; I got breakfast.”

“A-ight, thanks.  But, listen, I’d like you to finish your thoughts, ’cause I wanna know more.”  With that, he was gone out the door.  As Granger watched his friend’s back disappear, he breathed a quick prayer for his safety and God’s intervention in whatever the call was about.  At the same time, he noticed an old man who’d just come in the door and was standing uncertainly, looking for a place to sit.

Though stoop-shouldered, the old man stared from clear blue eyes from under a ball cap identifying him as a World War II veteran.  He wore an old medium-tan jacket, and a dark-blue ranch handkerchief peeked from one pocket.

Granger went over to him, identified himself as another veteran, and asked for the favor of buying a brother some breakfast.  As they sat down, Granger heard Spark’s powerful cruiser surge out of the Jimmie’s parking lot, tires squealing and siren warning everyone away.

http://toprightnews.com/92-year-old-wwii-vet

“Thank you for this privilege, my friend and brother.  Let me introduce you to Rizzo . . .”

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

 

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, Nov. 1, 2017: MERE COINCIDENCE? NOPE.

The longer I walk with God, the less I believe in coincidence.

Image result for coffee and truthThere was yet another misguided jihadist’s attack in New York yesterday.  This devotional from FiveStarMan was in this morning’s mail.  I found it solid, timely counsel and pass it along.

Don’t Curse God When Tragedy Strikes

PROVERBS 1:27

When your panic comes as a storm and desolation and your calamity comes on as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.  28 Then will they call upon me [Wisdom] but I will not answer; they will seek me early and diligently but they will not find me.

PRINCIPLE

All tragedy is a result of the fallen world.

Have you noticed that when people are experiencing good times they party – celebrate – and take credit for their good fortunes; but when things go bad they curse and blame God?

I can’t tell you how many times people have cried and complained to me, “Why did God allow this to happen?” They spew out their anger as if they are something special and do not deserve their calamity.

 

How do you respond to tragedy?

Jesus’ response to tragedy can serve as a lesson.

“Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:4

Jesus is teaching that if we are not careful, we can think a tragedy is a targeted judgment of sin, when in fact; ALL tragedy is a result of the fallen world. The earth is groaning as in birth pains awaiting the redemptive work of God (Romans 8:18).

Image result for islamist attack in new york

Jesus warns those judging the tragedy of the fallen tower of Siloam that the eighteen who died were not more sinful than anyone else; they were simply the result of the tragedy of death (that derives from sin in our world).

In the face of tragedy, these are comments you should NOT make:

• This happened because they are cursed.

               REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

• God is teaching them something.

• All things work together for the good. (This is taking a scripture completely out of the context and applying all acts as good.  Obviously, this is not true.)

• They lacked faith.

• Hopefully, this will turn them to God.

• Well, I am just glad it didn’t happen to us.

• They deserved it.

• God did this. (Be careful of this one. Do not sin with your lips by accusing God of a tragedy.)

These are responses we SHOULD have:

• What can I do to help?

• Who is responding and how can I help them?

• How can I pray?

• I am humbled by this tragedy and I want to invest in helping in every way that I can.

REMEMBER: Don’t curse God when trouble strikes.  *** FIVESTARMAN, The Daily Champion.

Friends, by now only fools or those intentionally trying to mislead, for whatever reason, lay these worldwide attacks at the feet of anyone but Islamist radicals.  No matter who taught them, where they came from, or how they got here, they all have their roots in this hateful, spite-filled brand of Islam.

Equally, only fools or those intentionally trying to incite believe all Muslims are hardened Islamist radicals.  However, until the Muslim world comes clean and repudiates Islamist terrorism wherever it appears – and joins the rest of us in both condemning and acting to stamp it out – the sad truth is that the Muslim world must be held complicit.  Many of them are suffering from this same sick belief, too.  One would think they’d do whatever it takes to help get rid of it.

No one has given God, His Church or His people a pass because of the horrendous acts of a few zealots saying they were acting in His name.  Islam needs to be held just as accountable.  It’s time Islam’s Allah and those who follow those teachings take responsibility for what’s being done in their name.

It’s also time we stop this foolishness of siding with the Cross’s enemies in blaming God and His Church every time something like what happened yesterday in New York City occurs.  Some men and women do what they do because they are evil, having handed their soul to the Adversary.  No one has to incite them.

The Sovereign Creator is just as saddened by the effects of sin in His world as are the rest of  us.

Join with me in praying for all those whose lives have been irreversibly touched by this disgusting act.  Surviving this attack was not what the perpetrator had in mind.  Something tells me he won’t enjoy what follows.

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 10/27/17: PASTURIZING PASTORS

DAY OF RENEWAL by Shepherd’s Fold Ministries is now finished for 2017.

You’re still stuck on the title.  You’ll get it.

Where do pastors go to get that ‘Psalm-23′ feelin’?  The green pastures bit?  Even when ‘off’ they’re not.  Church members who by now should be using their chompers instead of still nursing have The Rev’s cell number on speed-dial.

“Hangnail!”  “Car won’t start!”  “Crabgrass!”  “Cat peed on my carpet!”  “Cable coax is kinked again!”

DOR exists to pasturize pastors.  We provide an oasis in the median of ministry’s crazy paced expressway as our way of loving on them for a change.  Listening to them.  Observing them.  Putting faces on the praying we do over them.

Praying is our prep.  For months leading up to this day, everyone on the DOR team begins interceding, praying it forward for every pastor and wife who’ll attend.  We’re smart enough to know all our organizing–and plenty of it–is nothing without the Divine Spark that lights off the ion engines keeping our pastors going.

During Day of Renewal, a team of warriors spends the entire day praying in a separate War Room, shielding these amazing men and women from the Adversary’s attempts to distract and interfere.  We don’t publicize who they are.  We know them, know they’re not here for glory or church props.  It’s on the soaring updrafts of their fiercely-focused praying the real energy of DOR happens.

This is not about us.  Any of us.  Some of us have been or are presently pastoring; we know.  Some of us never have been and won’t ever be.  We learn.  After 20 years of making this happen?  We know how to care for the men and women who invest so much of themselves in shepherding us all year.

We know a little about pasturizing pastors.  We do our best to make it as green and lush as we can.  It’s a pleasure to watch them come through the doors in casual duds, almost visibly shedding the ‘Rev-armor’ and relaxing a wary watchfulness earned the hard way out in the Combat Zone.

This is not about us.

DOR is about, and for, pastors and their wives.

And when thanked, every one of us quotes a favorite reply of one of our many splendid corporate sponsors:

“My privilege.”

Because it is.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

 

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100-Word Stroll, 10/21/17: WHAT IS IT ABOUT “BY FAITH” YOU DON’T GET?

Naturalist and author Edward Abbey wrote, “Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination.”

Image result for coffee and sneering

No, it doesn’t.  It confirms it!

Reformation Day this year is Tuesday, October 31st.  What sparked the fire in Martin Luther’s soul, back in 1517, was when he read the prophet Habakkuk’s statement:  “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4).

To accomplish anything in this life requires belief that ranges out ahead of what you can now see.  Yeah.  Faith!  Believing in what hasn’t yet happened requires imagination.  That’s why God issued it to you.  Image result for imagination gifs

You’ve heard without faith it’s impossible to please God.  Right?

Without faith – focused use of your God-created imagination – it’s impossible to even please yourself.

Don’t trash your imagination just because some guy sneered at it.  God gave it to you for a reason.

Think about it.

Use it.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017     

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 10/19/17: 4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE

Readers make the best writers.  I’ve read that.

Image result for coffee and readingWhen you read a lot of the good, challenging, uplifting kind of stuff, you can’t help being helped by it.

I read this morning:

“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13, The Message

“In the end, only three things matter:  how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” ~ Unknown

“Conviction and Comfort don’t even live on the same block.” ~ a very wise grandmother

Nope.  This post isn’t salacious.  It’s to help you lift the bar high – way high – on this matter of love.  Loving extravagantly never has meant excusing Wrong, liking everything and everyone, and tolerating Evil.  Nor has it meant not supporting what’s right.  “Love” never has meant “You agree with everything I do, say, or believe”.

I promised you 4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE.

  1. Image result for coffee and readingEXAMINE how much you love.  Your pattern is Jesus.  Quit getting sidetracked by looking around you; no matter how much you like them, no human will ever love in sufficient power, reach, and beauty as Jesus does.  You want love defined?  Read the Bible cover to cover.  Yeah, all of it.
  2. EXPLORE how gently you’re living.  Again, your pattern is Jesus.  Spend time in the Gospels and the first few verses of Acts 1.  Jesus was never mean, nor mean-spirited.  Never afraid to confront Evil and evil persons, Jesus was nevertheless a gentle man in the way he lived.  He respected and listened to his dad and mom.  Though fearless in pointing out religious and political hypocrisy, Jesus showed and taught respect and appreciation for both the Church of His day and the few political leaders who were true statesmen.  He also showed the gentlest of love for all He met.  Again, go back and study the true definition of ‘gentle’.  Some of the fiercest warriors I know are some of the gentlest-living people I’ve ever met.Image result for one man's journey
  3. EMBRACE who and where God’s shown you you’re supposed to be, and what He needs for you to be doing.  Even though it put Him out on the edge of Reason, Jesus looked God in the eye and said, “Your plan, Your will.”  The only people who say walking with God is simple, or, even sillier, a weakling’s way out, are those who either have never done it at all, or tried it and suddenly realized they’d rather see what’s behind Door #2.  To grudgingly let go of something God says isn’t good for you isn’t letting go, is it?  To step through and beyond God’s open door for you with grace shows spiritual maturity, and it will just keep growing.  It’s not just God’s grace that’s amazing.  He means for yours to be as well.

    Image result for Living what you believe

  4. EXERCISE your conviction.  Think, speak, and walk daily in the core beliefs God revealed to you.  Nobody else’s convictions fit you.  That’s why trying to preach yours to them doesn’t set well.  That’s why listening to theirs and deciding, “Oh, well, those sound more palatable than mine” is lethal to your own faith.  Trying to enjoy comfort and exercise conviction at the same time are nigh onto impossible, unless you know for sure what the latter are, and know when the former are pushing you to ignore the latter.

4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE aren’t glitzy, entertaining or fashionable.  Shoot, sometimes they’re just flat a lot of work.

But they pay off.

Think of people within your orbit whose lives solidly impact yours and impress you.  Ask yourself why.  Then mentally hold them up against these four things.  You’ll find they’re at work doing some or all of them.

Your challenge is to be that kind of person for somebody else around you.

Time’s wastin’.  And they’re watchin’.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

 

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